Monthly Archives: November 2007

Whole wheat bread does not necessarily mean whole grain

This is another good one and another case where you really have to read your labels. Whole grains are a healthy carbohydrate choice because they are a “complex” or slow releasing carbohydrate. This means that they break down into sugar slower, therefore providing a constant stream of energy to the body. Refined and processed grains are fast releasing carbohydrates. They break down into sugar quickly, providing immediately available energy. However, when that energy is not needed at that moment by the body, the sugar is stored as fat.

The classic marketing hype here is with breads. Most breads are made from refined flour. This is wheat that has had the nutritious germ and bran removed and then processed into flour. Some synthetic B vitamins will be sprayed back in and it will be labeled “enriched” flour. Only “whole wheat” still contains the germ and the bran. When reading the labels look for “whole wheat” or “stone ground wheat”. When it says “wheat flour”, “enriched”, “unbleached”, or “bleached” it is still processed, refined, non-nutritious white flour.

There is another labeling trick here as well. Products can claim to be “whole grain” or “whole wheat” if that is one of the ingredients. So, you have to read the label carefully. Ingredients are listed in the order of quantity in the product. In most of these “whole grain” crackers or cereals the primary ingredient is still enriched flour. The whole grain will be further down the ingredient list.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Just because it is labeled “Organic” does not mean it is healthy

We read and hear a lot today about buying organic foods. They are supposed to be healthier for us. In most cases this is quite true. When we are buying fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, meat, and dairy, organic is a very healthy choice.

However, to put it simply – a chip is still a chip. An organic corn chip is still a corn chip. It is still processed corn deep fried in an oil. The corn is still processed and the oil is still damaged from high heat. An organic canned vegetable is still a canned vegetable. It has been packaged and processed with most of the nutrients being lost. An organic cracker made from organic enriched flour is still made from enriched flour.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Products labeled “0 Trans-fats” may contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils

This is one of my personal favorites. With the wide acceptance that trans-fats are not healthy and one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease, there has been great pressure placed on the food and restaurant industry to remove trans-fats from our food supply.

Hydrogenation is a process to preserve and prevent unsaturated (liquid) fats from spoiling so they can be used in processed foods to lengthen shelf life. It is also a way to make liquid oils harder and spreadable. During the process they are heated to high temperatures that destroy most of the oil’s beneficial qualities. In addition, once in the body, they are no longer recognized as an unsaturated fat and treated more like a saturated fat. Therefore, they get involved in bodily functions where they should not be, leading to a variety of health problems.

So how can this be? How can a product labeled “0 Trans-fats” contain these oils? Simple, the labeling refers to trans-fats per serving. Per government labeling rules, as long as there is less than one-half gram of trans-fats per serving, it can be rounded down to zero! So, depending upon what the product manufacturer determines a serving to be, this will translate into the labeling.

My advice to you – read your labels very carefully so you won’t be fooled by this misleading labeling claim. Many products that are marketed to be healthy alternatives contain these oils. If you still eat margarine, switch to organic non-salted butter. It is the healthiest choice.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Farm Raised Salmon is not a good source of Omega-3 EFAs

We’ve all been told to increase our consumption of Omega 3 essential fatty acids (found in fish oil). These are EPA and DHA which are beneficial to the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. They are important for normal growth of our blood vessels and nerves. Omega 3’s have been found to decrease blood clotting, lower triglyceride levels, decrease blood pressure, and reduce inflammation in the body.

Another important essential fatty acid is the Omega 6. Most nutritionists believe we should consume these oils in a 2:1 or so ration of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s. However, the typical American consumes them in a ratio of anywhere from 20:1 to 50:1. Clearly we are getting too many Omega 6’s.

One of the best sources of Omega 3’s are fish from cold water, particularly salmon. However, this salmon has to be wild, not farm raised. When raised on a farm, the fish do not eat the same diet as in the wild. While it will be stated that farm raised salmon is a good source of Omega 3’s, which is true, it is contains a significant amount of Omega 6’s. Therefore, when we eat it, we are not doing anything to improve our Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. In addition, farm raised salmon is naturally grey in color. How come it looks pink in the store? It is injected with a pink food dye.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Marketing Hype

We’re all trying our best to eat healthier. Everyday we read or hear about the latest “healthy” food. We are promised that if we eat this food, all our health problems will go away. We’ll lose weight; we’ll get back our energy; we’ll feel young again.

When we go into a grocery store we are presented with many choices. Yet, how do we know what is truly healthy? I can tell you one thing for sure – there is a lot of hype. You, the consumer, are being barraged with messages about which products to buy. And quite honestly, many of these messages are misleading, and actually false. Let me share a few things about which you should be aware.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Cholesterol – Why Your Body Needs It

We often hear warnings about eating foods that contain cholesterol. We are told eating these foods will lead to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. From this we often form the conclusion that cholesterol is bad. In fact, we are told there is “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol. Yet, the simple truth is that cholesterol is an essential component of human biochemistry – our body requires it and uses it continuously.

Cholesterol is used to manufacture cell membranes. Cell membranes determine what gets in and out of our cells. Without cholesterol cell membranes will not function correctly. When this occurs we have damaged cells. With damaged cells comes a variety of diseases, particularly cancer.

The greatest concentration of cholesterol is in the brain and nervous system. The nerve cells have cholesterol rich membranes. This allows the electrical currents of the nervous system to signal and travel effectively. Our brain and nervous system will not work properly without sufficient cholesterol.

Cholesterol is the base material for hormones – among these are our sex hormones and our stress handling hormones. These include: pregnenolone, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. Their roles include: stress handling; reproduction; energy production; maintaining stable blood sugar levels; body repair and regeneration; healthy brain function, mood, cognition, and memory; and maintaining overall strength, stamina, and vitality.

Because our body requires cholesterol, it has a system in place to manufacture it. This occurs in the liver. If we did not need cholesterol, our body would not make it. The cholesterol in our blood is being delivered to where it is needed. Cholesterol is delivered to the adrenals, ovaries, testes, and peripheral tissues via low density lipoproteins (LDLs) where it will be used to manufacture hormones. Cholesterol is returned to the liver via high density lipoproteins (HDLs) where it is broken down and made available for later use by the body.

When we have high LDL levels this indicates cholesterol is on the move. So where is all this cholesterol going? Why is it needed? Here are two significant reasons that our body is producing cholesterol. First, cholesterol is found in the damaged areas of arteries, where along with other substances it forms the plaque associated with heart disease. However, cholesterol is the body’s repair substance. Without cholesterol in the blood stream, tears and irritation in the arteries would lead to aneurisms and ruptures. How do these arteries get damaged? A significant amount is due to fluctuations in blood sugar levels along with hormone surges to keep blood sugar levels constant. This damage occurs over time. This is why heart disease and diabetes are considered degenerative diseases – they occur over time.

Second, many of us are in a chronic stress response – we are stressed out. In order to handle stress our body requires cortisol. This is one of the hormones manufactured from cholesterol. For our body to have the cortisol it needs to handle stress, it must make cholesterol, so it can ultimately make cortisol.

What does this tell us? There are two keys to lowering cholesterol – diet and stress reduction. Diet does not necessarily mean eating foods low in cholesterol, it means eating foods in such a way as to keep our blood sugar levels constant. We must look at our complete intake of all dietary factors – carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. Stress reduction and stress management means learning relaxation techniques to consciously change our patterns and stop the chronic stress response.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.